Album: Civil War
Release Date: May 31, 2019
Civil War is the latest from Edmonton born, Calgary based artist, Ken Stead.
Civil War is a very energetic album with an easy going feel in the likes of Tom Petty or Ryan Adams. You get a real sense from the album that Ken and his band have been working together for a long time and have gotten themselves into a really well-honed groove that is the bedrock of that casual feel.
Through the use of electric guitar, drums, violin, piano, organ, and Ken Stead’s steady baritone, Civil War has a vigor and familiarity that would make it a perfect fit for a summer night barbecue with friends. The frequent use of strong hooks and relatable lyrics also makes Civil War a great album for a good sing along.
A standout track on the album for me was “Why You Afraid of the Dark” which uses simple organ chords as a backing and a sloping drum beat to make an almost gospel-like tone. The message of the sermon is pretty clear as well in “Why You Afraid of the Dark” because your fear is being misdirected at something not inherently scary? If so, maybe it’s as the song says, because you know that your shadow scares the hell out of you…and its time to fix your fears.
I grew up in Alberta, but spent most of my life in British Columbia – I also spent a lot of my summers in Britain as I was lucky enough to have immigrant parents with the capital to go visit our relatives. The amount of time I spent overseas makes it hard for me to say I feel fully Canadian, but it does make me feel typically Canadian as so many of us have mixed parentage. My parents defined another divide in me as I feel inexorably pulled to both science and the art; my father being a doctor and my mother being a school teacher. I studied both in university and now work on making healthcare software during the day, then write/read/draw/paint/dance in my evenings. My global wanderings, my education, and the fact that my appetite for media could be described as ‘voracious’ means my frame of reference is pretty varied. It’s hard to say that I have a favourite music genre, rather I am always seeking sounds that convey a sense earnestness an honesty.